While media pundits and defeated Democrat campaigns voice different interpretations of the Republicans’ midterm landslide, no one should overlook one indisputable fact: voters gave Republicans a mandate to stop gun control at the federal and state level.
Federally speaking, in race after race pro-gun control candidates were run out of office and replaced with pro-Second Amendment candidates in the US Senate.
This was clear for Mark Udall (D-CO) and Kay Hagan (D-NC)–two Senators who voted for Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) gun control bill in April 2013, only to be replaced by pro-Second Amendment candidates. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) voted for Manchin’s gun control package as well, and she lost so much support among midterm voters that her race will be decided via a run-off election against pro-Second Amendment candidate Bill Cassidy (R-LA) in December.
In Arkansas, Senator Mark Pryor (D) voted against Manchin’s gun control package in 2013 but still lost to NRA-endorsed candidate Tom Cotton (R). This race was truly demonstrative of the push for a mandate inasmuch as a quasi pro-gun candidate–Pryor–was run out of office to make room for a bona fide, no holds barred supporter of the Second Amendment, Tom Cotton.
On top of this, pro-gun candidate Joni Ernst (R-IA) won pro-gun control Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) former seat.
On November 4 Breitbart News reported the Huffington Post deriding Ernst’s gun views as those that belong to “Second Amendment extremists.” She’ll now be taking those views to Washington, D.C., aiming to stop gun control in its tracks.
Kentucky was also indicative of the push-back against gun control. There, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was in a tight race with Alison Grimes (D), who had to fake her pro-gun convictions just to get traction in the state. But in October The Weekly Standard uncovered a memo showing her pro-gun statements were “canned,” and Breitbart News reported that expanded background checks were on her agenda.
McConnell won by a large margin.
On top of these Senate victories, Republicans not only held the House but expanded their majority there–an expansion that is itself a buffer against any gun control measure that may come down the pike.
In state-level races, voters supported pro-Second Amendment incumbents over their pro-gun control challengers–even in races where dedicated gun control proponents such as Gabby Giffords showed up to raise money or campaign. Gun control candidates even lost in races where Giffords’ gun control PAC donated to the candidate’s campaign.
For example, Giffords went to Maine in August to raise money for gun control candidate Michael Michaud (D), but he was defeated by pro-Second Amendment Governor Paul R. LePage (R). Giffords’ gun control group sent $100,000 to Florida gun control gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (D), but he was defeated by pro-Second Amendment Governor Rick Scott (R). And Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly endorsed Arizona gun control gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal (D), but he was beat handily by pro-Second Amendment candidate Doug Ducey (R).
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.